Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unthinkable futures

These are excerpts from a list of "unthinkable futures" as developed by Brian Eno and others out of an internet conversation some years ago. If you like Eno's works I'd recommend getting "A year with swollen appendices". It's a fantastic book, full of smart thoughts. Truly the work of a "drifting clarifier". Did you know that Brian created the "Microsoft sound"?
Mass outbreaks of allergies unexpectedly solve all our transportation problems by confining almost everyone to their sealed residences. Telecommunications stocks soar

A highly successful new magazine - Ordinary People - focuses only on people who have never done anything in particular to deserve attention

News is understood to be a creation of our attention and interests (rather than "the truth") and news shows are redesigned as "think-tanks," where four interesting minds from different disciplines are asked the question, "So what do YOU think happened today?"

Later, four uninteresting minds (chosen from the pages of Ordinary People magazine) are asked the same questions

A microbe engineered to eat oil slicks evolves a taste for rubber. Transport grinds to a halt on burst tyres. People stay home and have sex more, but condoms crumble routinely. World population doubles in six years

The commonly held notion that it is correct to surround children with love, security and affection suffers a serious decline in credibility when it becomes apparent that kids reared thus are entirely unequipped for a world that is cruel, dangerous and insecure. Enlightened parents begin experimenting with new forms of toys: teddies with sharp teeth, building bricks with abrasive surfaces, mildly toxic crayons, unsafe play areas

Manufacturers of underwear finally realize that men have different sized balls
Some of the legendary Oblique Strategies could be applied to software development as well